About the campaign
Every day, millions of men, women and children are living in fear, and every minute, one person is killed by armed violence. There are around 639 million small arms and light weapons in the world today. Eight million more are produced every year. By 2020, the number of deaths and injuries from war and violence will overtake the number of deaths caused by killer diseases such as malaria and measles.
Without strict control, such weapons will continue to fuel violent conflict, state repression, crime, and domestic abuse. Unless governments act to stop the spread of arms, more lives will be lost, more human rights violations will take place, and more people will be denied the chance to escape poverty. Readily available weapons will intensify and prolong wars. More people will be terrorised and forced from their homes.
The vicious circle of arms transfers, conflict and abuse can and must be stopped. It is a global problem that needs a global solution. We need an international Arms Trade Treaty to cut off the supply of weapons to known human rights abusers. We need to support grass roots initiatives to make people safe from armed violence, either at the hands of the military, security forces, armed groups or criminal gangs. When it comes to the export and use of weapons, everyone should adhere to the same rules, with human rights at the centre.
The four Key Steps to an Arms Trade Treaty
In 2006, 153 Governments voted at the United Nations to develop an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)- that's step one already complete! A timetable has been agreed, but there are still two crucial stages to go before a successful, water-tight and universally binding treaty comes into being. Without continuing political pressure on governments to stay strong in negotiations and not compromise on human rights, it could still be derailed or fatally weakened.
The two remaining steps include:
- The actual negotiation of the treaty - happening now! These crucial negotiations end on 27 July
- The signing and ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty to allow it to enter into force.
Only at this final stage, when it is signed and ratified, will we have the Arms Trade Treaty that is so desperately needed to save lives and protect human rights in the world today.
The 5 Golden Rules
It is essential for a tough, robust and loophole-free Arms Treaty that all the signatories accept the Golden Rules, and therefore human rights, as a key driving factor in the regulation of the international arms trade.
Amnesty believes that Governments have an obligation to stop arms supplies that:
- Are likely to be used for serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law
- Have an impact that would clearly increase poverty by undermining sustainable development or involve corrupt practices
- Provoke or exacerbate armed conflicts that are in violation of their obligations under the UN Charter and existing treaties.
- Contribute to an existing pattern of violent crime.
- Risk being diverted for one of the above outcomes or for acts of terrorism.